Master of Arts in Public Policy

Graduate Director: Professor Adrienne Fulco

Associate Director: Professor Michael Fotos



Trinity College offers a Master of Arts in Public Policy for those who are engaged in preparing for careers that employ empirical and normative approaches to policy theory, analysis, and implementation. The program is also intended for those who have a general interest in the theory and practice of public policy-making.
The program typically attracts:
  • persons interested in policy and planning in the public sector and in the potential impact of such planning on society
  • state and local public employees
  • private sector employees
  • professionals in the health care sector
  • professional educators
The program aims to develop the skills required to articulate public issues, analyze alternative policies, facilitate the adoption and implementation of specific public choices, and evaluate their effects.

In keeping with Trinity College’s traditional emphasis, the program embodies a liberal arts approach to public policy, which stresses the importance of the economic/technical component of making collective choices, and both normative and empirical analysis of policy issues. Courses also typically draw from the theory and practice of a cross-section of humanities and social science disciplines.

Courses are offered during the evening in the fall and spring terms and during two summer terms.
 
Your admission to the program depends upon your scholarly record (bachelor's degree with 3.0 GPA), two letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose of approximately 1,000 words explaining your intellectual objectives in your chosen course of study at Trinity. Frequently, admission is also contingent upon successful performance in specified graduate courses at Trinity College. No standardized test is required for admission to the program.
 
You have a choice of two program tracks:  

  • Public Policy Studies - A track in public policy in settings that require general knowledge of and methods for analyzing and resolving specific policy issues
  • Health Care Policy - A new track for those who wish to focus on the public policy, economic, and ethical aspects of the delivery and administration of health care
    (A more complete description of this track can be viewed by clicking on Graduate Program in Health Care Policy.)
You need not decide immediately which track to pursue, but you should do so in consultation with the program director. If you believe that a required course duplicates previous academic work, consult the program director, since it might be possible to substitute another course for the requirement.

Tracks at a Glance


TRACK 1: PUBLIC POLICY STUDIES

Degree Requirements
Students must complete a total of 11 credits (unless, upon petition, the program director waives PBPL 801, Basic Principles of Economics), including all required courses (see below) and three elective courses as approved by the program director or associate program director. A minimum GPA of 2.667 must be maintained, and a grade of B- or higher must be earned on the final thesis or project. Other academic regulations apply.

Required Courses
PBPL 800, Introduction to Public Policy (new course, Fall 2013)
PBPL 801, Basic Principles of Economics*
PBPL 836, Moral Theory
PBPL 828, Theory of Democratic Institutions
PBPL 806, Methods of Research
PBPL 846, Policy Analysis
PBPL 808, Constitutional Foundations of Public Policy
*Students are expected to successfully complete PBPL 801, Basic Principles of Economics, for credit, except those students who, based upon their undergraduate background in economics, successfully petition for a waiver of this requirement.

Elective Courses
PBPL 844, Law and Environmental Policy
PBPL 810, Public Finance
PBPL 812, Women and Politics
PBPL 825, Policy Implementation
PBPL 856, Challenges for the U.S. Criminal Justice System
PBPL 862, American Religion and Public Policy
PBPL 865, The Supreme Court and Public Policy
PBPL 866, State and Local Policy and Politics
PBPL 870, Supreme Court as Policy Maker
PBPL 912, Happiness and Public Policy

Electives (2-3 credits)
Final Thesis (2 credits) OR Final Project (1 credit)

11 Credits Total (includes PBPL 801, Basic Principles of Economics)

Concentration in Education Policy
While completing requirements in the Public Policy Studies track, students may qualify for a concentration in education policy. This track is intended for professional educators and others interested in public policy issues pertaining to elementary, secondary, and higher education. The concentration does not lead to state certification or licensing in the area of school administration.
To qualify for concentration in education policy, students must complete at least 3 of the following courses:
PBPL 817, Education Policy
PBPL 8xx, Contemporary Issues in Education Policy
PBPL 8xx, Education Law
PBPL 8xx, Financing Education

 TRACK 2: HEALTH CARE POLICY
Degree Requirements
Students must complete a total of 11 credits (unless, upon petition, the program director waives PBPL 801, Basic Principles of Economics), including all required courses (see below) and three elective courses as approved by the program director or associate program director. A minimum GPA of 2.667 must be maintained, and a grade of B- or higher must be earned on the final thesis or project. Other academic regulations apply.

Required Courses
PBPL 800, Introduction to Public Policy (new course, Fall 2013)
PBPL 801, Basic Principles of Economics*
PBPL 891, Health Policy
PBPL 806, Methods of Research
PBPL 846, Policy Analysis
PBPL 854, Leading Issues in Bioethics, Public Policy, and Law
PBPL 8xx, Economics and Regulation of Health Care
PBPL, 9xx, Thesis/Final Project, including a practicum (2 credits)
*Students are expected to successfully complete PBPL 801, Basic Principles of Economics, for credit, except those students who, based upon their undergraduate background in economics, successfully petition for a waiver of this requirement.

Elective Courses
PBPL 825, Policy Implementation
PBPL 857, Health Care Reform Policy: The Affordable Care Act Goes to Court
PBPL 863, Child Health, Child Development, and Public Policy
PBPL 8xx, Public Policy of Health Research
PBPL 8xx, Public Health Issues
PBPL 8xx, Environmental Science and Health
PBPL 8xx, Law of Health Care
PBPL 8xx, Health Care in Hartford
PBPL 8xx, Reproductive Rights
PBPL 8xx, Health Care after 2014
PBPL 8xx, Gerontology: The Aging of America
 

Community Research Project

As a matriculated Public Policy student, you also have an opportunity to enroll in an independent study that includes a research project, PBPL 950, Community Research and Public Policy.  This elective course is offered in conjunction with a local organization dealing with public policy issues and is supervised by a member of the graduate faculty.  Projects vary and are available in such fields as transportation, education, legislation, health care, environmental regulation, and community economic development.